Previously: Volcano Day (Part 2)
It was my mom’s last day on the Big Island, and we hadn’t gone snorkeling yet. Ray’s not much for getting in the water, so if I was going to do any snorkeling, this was my last day to do it. After a little research, we had settled on the beach at Pu’uhonau o Honaunau (City of Refuge), and we had made plans to meet a friend’s sister (who happened to be working as an archeologist in Kailua-Kona) for the morning.
Since we knew it would take 2-1/2 hours to get there from Volcano (we were starting to understand just how far away everything was), we checked out of the Volcano Guest House at 9:30 and told my friend to meet us at 11:00.
But then I realized that we couldn’t go snorkeling after all, as my body decided to pick that day to start its monthly courses, and with areas in Honaunau Bay up to 100 feet deep, there was a good chance there could be sharks in the water. Best to stay safe and on land. Our friend had also sustained a nasty cut from the lava the day before, so we all decided on the phone to take a tour of the City of Refuge instead.
John Cleese (our GPS voice) couldn’t seem to find Pu’uhonau o Honaunau (the beginning of a trend for our electronic friend for the rest of the vacation), but I was armed with various tourist maps and was able to navigate us there safely. Our friend, on the other hand, got totally lost and ended up getting there much later than we did…it’s a good thing we had decided not to snorkel, because the heat of noon was upon us, and the morning fish were all gone.
We didn’t have a tour guide to show us around like we did in Waipio Valley, but the brochure they gave us at the gate did a very good job of explaining the area.
The City of Refuge, as it turns out, was the place to go if you had broken a cardinal law. If you could make it by sea across the treacherous reef to the shore, you were absolved of whatever law you had broken. Most people who attempted the journey died in the process, so if you managed to make it, that was a sign that the gods favored you.
Most of the huts and heiaus we saw were reproductions, but the wall itself was original (although repaired in some spots), and held together with no mortar at all, which was amazing.
We did see a couple of turtles hanging out in the water and on the beach, which is different from my last run-in with the Hawaiian turtle population. And I was still disappointed with not being able to actually do some snorkeling, but hey, at least the turtles no longer feared me.
After the walk around the City of Refuge, we decided to head into Kailua-Kona (another 45-minute drive) for a bite to eat. Lunch at the Kona Brewing Company was a bit touristy but very tasty, and all too soon it was time to take my mom to the airport and say goodbye.